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(Fiction) A Warehouse in Britain

Discussion in 'UO Great Lakes' started by EM Malachi, Oct 3, 2011.

  1. EM Malachi

    EM Malachi UO Event Moderator
    UO Event Moderator Stratics Veteran

    Feb 23, 2010
    Likes Received:
    Magnus sat on the edge of the roof, his bare feet dangled over the side. He knew he wasn’t supposed to be on the Conservatory roof, but no one ever noticed a small boy this far up. Smoke rose from the chimney at the Good Eats bakery, filling the block with the smell of baking bread. Riders were saddling up at the Bucking Horse to bring messages to Cove and Minoc.

    A stranger stepped out of the Northside Inn. It was odd for someone he didn’t know to stay this far from the city center. Ms. Hudson rented mostly to locals. The man glanced around the street before scanning upwards. His eyes paused on Magnus for a moment. The stranger limped down the street.

    Having nothing better to do, Magnus decided to follow the stranger. A street later, he lost sight of him. Magnus stepped into an alley to take a shortcut home, but was stopped short by a crossbow.

    “You really have a death wish, kid,” said the stranger.

    Magnus considered the blade in his pocket for a moment before changing his mind.

    “Smart kid. Why were you following me? And don’t lie to old Holt.”

    Magnus stammered about being bored and curious, an answer the stranger seemed to accept.

    “Now what to do with you?”


    “The penalty for snooping is to make yourself useful.”

    Holt had given this as the reason when Magnus asked why he needed to watch this dockside warehouse. He was to write down descriptions of every person who came and went from the wooden building. He was also to keep an eye out for a wealthy lord named Ozan Mirza.

    No one had entered the warehouse for the first few hours. Magnus was sketching a crossbow when the sedan chair carried by four men stopped in front of the building. A man wearing a plum-colored outfit stepped out of the sedan and entered the warehouse. His jewelry gleamed in the dull light of the setting sun. The city’s wealthy didn’t often visit this part of Britain, and they never showed so much gold. Magnus started writing. Twenty minutes later, the wealthy man exited followed by a man in chainmail and a crying girl.

    “Good selection, Jerrold. We can definitely do business,” he said to the armored man. “I will have payment brought here.” He picked up the girl and got into the sedan.

    Magnus didn’t understand what was happening, so he wrote it all down. He considered following the sedan, but Holt’s instructions had been specific – Stay and watch until midnight. The girl’s expression haunted him while he waited. Two hours later, a man approached the warehouse, struggling with a heavy box. It was his brother, Lukas. At the iron door, Lukas knocked and waited.

    Jerrold and two others appeared at the door. Lukas said hello. Jerrold ignored Lukas and motioned to the box. The two thugs grabbed the rope handles and pulled the box inside. Jerrold slammed the door without a word.

    Magnus followed his brother quietly. A few streets later, Lukas stopped and drew his knife, “I don’t like being followed.”

    Magnus stepped out of the darkness. Lukas looked shocked, “Magnus! Why aren’t you at home? You shouldn’t be in this part of town. People have been going missing.”

    Magnus tried to explain what had happened: Holt, the crossbow, the man in purple, and the crying girl. Everything he said seemed to make Lukas more and more angry. When Magnus finished, he was trembling in fear. “I didn’t mean to make you so mad.”

    Lukas’s angry expression broke, and he said quietly, “I’m not mad at you. Well, I am for you taking stupid risks, but we can talk about that later. Those people are doing very bad things. The worst. I need to go talk to the guard. You get home and stay there.”


    Magnus started to walk home, but as soon as he was out of view of his brother, he turned down an alley and snuck back to the warehouse. Magnus hid behind a pile of crates and waited.

    Lukas returned with a guard. Magnus watched his brother try to push the iron door open. The guard stood behind him, truncheon ready. The door groaned on the hinges. Lukas was straining to open the heavy door when the truncheon hit the back of his head. The guard looked around briefly before dragging the unconscious body inside. The door slammed behind him.

    Magnus climbed the pile of crates to get to the window into the warehouse. He carefully navigated the building. The warehouse was a maze of barrels and crates. The smell was terrible. Coming around a corner, he found a dozen people chained to a wall. He thought they were dead until one of them shifted to shake off a fly. Magnus moved on.


    Magnus saw his brother being restrained by Jerrold and another man while the man in purple removed Lukas’s knife from its sheath.

    Lord Ozan Mirza looked down the length of the blade, turning it over in his hand. “A fine blade. Far too fine for someone as filthy as you. What did you hope to accomplish here?”

    Lukas looked, his dark eyes full of fury. He spoke slowly through his swollen lips, “Someone will stop you.”

    “Who? The guard? No, I think not. I already bribed the few that were even paying attention. A city this large is fractured. You lack discipline. But it is a healthy city, and healthy slaves fetch a good price.”

    Lukas struggled, and Ozan smiled, “A fighter to the end. Well, I’ll grant you a quick death.” Ozan flicked his wrist, and a thin red line began to grow on Lukas’s neck.

    Magnus felt a hand move over his mouth. There was so much red. The men holding Lukas let go, and his brother fell forward, still as death. Magnus struggled, but the hand moved to cover his nose.


    Magnus woke up in an alley near the warehouse. Holt was standing over him. In a harsh voice, Holt said, “If you rush back there, your brother’s corpse will have yours as company. If you want those who murdered your brother punished, you will do exactly what I say.”

    Holt handed a letter to Magnus. “Take this to the Commander of the Britain Guard. Don’t give it to anyone else, especially not his lieutenant. Don’t stop for anything.”

    Magnus ran all the way to the guard barracks. His lungs burned, and the blood thudded in his head. The mess hall was full when he entered. Someone tried to stop him, but he dodged. Magnus was running on top of the long table when he was finally tackled. He struggled and shouted until the Commander grabbed the letter from his hand.

    The Commander read the letter, his weathered old face darkening with anger. He put the letter on the table, then pulled his sword and pointed it at the man next to him. “Guards. Seize the lieutenant here. Twenty of you, grab your swords and come with me. Now.”

    He motioned to one of the guards holding Magnus. “Keep this one safe. I will have questions for him.” The Royal Guard formed up behind the Commander and marched out of the hall.

    A guard escorted Magnus toward an interrogation room. Seeing the heavy oak doors, Magnus tripped up the guard and broke free of his grip. Magnus started running. The warehouse was on fire when he got to it. Guards were putting manacles on Jerrold and several other thugs. Those Magnus had seen in chains were being tended to by healers. The Commander was speaking to one of them. “A limping man opened the locks and told us to wait until the fire started on the other side of the warehouse. He was in there when the roof collapsed.”

    Magnus moved along the street, through the smoke and chaos, looking for Mirza. Seeing a shadow move down an alley, he chased after it. He found Holt Wilder sitting on a crate cleaning Lukas’s knife. When he approached, Holt tossed the knife to him. Magnus caught the knife. It felt heavier than he remembered.

    “Looking for Mirza? You won’t find him. He’s back on his ship. There will be some angry letters between Britain and Nujel’m, but I’ve been told not to pursue the matter. Diplomacy,” Holt spit the last word out. “But there will be another chance. The arrogant and greedy don’t stop. You and I won’t forget, and he won’t escape next time. Next time, one of us will solve the problem for good.”